Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Photo by Najah Hendricks

The Pi chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., along with Aspire High Youth Development Inc., came together to host a visit for high school students — having college leaders serve as mentors and give their take on being a minority and the importance of going to college. Yamilet Reyes, the chapter president of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., hosted the event along with the help of the Aspire High CEO Lillian Perez.

Aspire High Youth Development Program strives to help young men and women see their true potential, and to continue evolving and growing into leaders. They offer many programs such as an After School Program, a Stem Program and Fitness and Character Education), which teaches leadership principles, develops confidence and provides encouragement to help prevent and reduce obesity. Other programs include College Mentoring and Revolutionary Artists.

Aspire High Youth Development Program strives to help young men and women see their true potential…

I had the chance to interview a few students from the program Tyanna McKenzie (senior), Mahnoor Ali (junior), Bryan Ichany (junior), Luis Munez (junior) and Liliannie Ortiz (junior).  They described how much it changed their life and opened their eyes to new opportunities, and the struggle of not having knowledge regarding college. Some high school students often don’t get the luxury of knowing what colleges are for them or how to apply. They mentioned how it helps to meet someone that they can relate to, saying that “It allows [them] to see someone from the same background conquer their goals and inspire [them] to do the same thing.” What also stood out during the interview was how highly they talked of the staff and mentors they’ve met: “Aspire High works with you directly and guides you toward a better future that relates directly to what your interest is, which a lot of high schools lack that from teachers and staff.”

This is something they hope to continue to bring to other schools after they graduate “to help bring their community together and have people from different backgrounds come together.” Some thoughtful advice to other high schoolers would be “always ask for help,” “sacrifice who you are for who you want to be in the future” and to “speak up always for what’s on your mind, and don’t bring yourself down.”

“sacrifice who you are for who you want to be in the future”

I also got the chance to talk to Yamilet Reyes, who connected with Lillian Perez, another sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. who was moved to introduce higher education to high school students of color. This very important because a lot of times “we looked at as staying at home and not doing anything with our future. But coming to a PWI, we showed how much we stand out and how much of a role and importance we really have.”

The event featured student leaders from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity Inc. and Empower Communities Around You.

“It was nice seeing the different organizations represent so much diversity and talk about their experience as high students and where they are now; it was really good for the students to see.” One thing Reyes says for any high school student struggling on the thought of college is, “Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you want. Give college a try even if you’re not sure what you want to major in, [and] still do it for yourself.”

Najah Hendricks is a third-year majoring in social work  with a minor in youth empowerment & urban studies. NH871270@wcupa.edu

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